I’m sorry for throwing that brain cyst thing at you and then walking away for two weeks.
I didn’t mean to be absent for so long. And I certainly didn’t mean to worry any of my loved ones who have been stopping by the blog looking for an update.
It’s just that following up on all those medical questions takes a lot of work. In the past two weeks I have met with a dermatologist, a cardiologist, an Ear Nose Throat doctor, a neurosurgeon, and an obstetrician. And I’ve had an echocardiogram. That’s six separate medical appointments. Plus I attended a board meeting and I helped out at my older son’s preschool, leaving my younger boy at home. That’s a lot of looking for sitters.
So as you might expect, I’m tired. And my mind has been rather too occupied with pondering illness and trial and the small, beautiful things in life to generate an actual, ready-for-public-consumption, finished product. Also, I’ve had to be brutal in distinguishing between the have-to-do’s and the want-to-do’s. My attention has gone to my boys and to stacks of medical forms. (And laundry when I have absolutely nothing left to dress the boys in.) Most other things (ahem, cooking and dishes) have been left by the wayside. Thus too went the blog.
I remembered (too late) last week that it’s probably never a good idea to say to oneself before bed, “I am so tired. I’m really looking forward to a good, solid night’s sleep tonight because ohmygosh I need it so badly.” You know what happens when you say such things, don’t you? The small children on the other side of your house hear you and collude to disrupt your oh-so-badly-needed sleep. They wake up multiple times per night. They may even end up in bed with you, together, fidgeting and giggling away your hoped-for last precious hour of would-be sleep.
(Co-sleepers, I really, truly do not know how you do it. Anytime we’ve had the boys in our bed, they get little sleep and we get less. And we all suffer accordingly.)
That said, I actually had two solid, interruption-free, 8-hour nights of sleep last weekend. After the second, I couldn’t believe how alert and energetic I felt in the morning. “This is what it feels like to be well-rested!” I thought to myself. “This is marvelous!” and “I should do this more often!” and “I’m never going to make sleep a low priority again!”
I don’t even need to tell you what happened next, do I? Because you know: schedules, commitments, medical forms, boys’ nightmares… Lack Of Sleep.
Okay, enough with the sleep stuff. It’s about time I gave you a little update on all those doctors’ visits, isn’t it? Here’s the deal in a nutshell:
- Dermatologist: “No problem! Don’t worry!”
- ENT and cardiologist: “We don’t think there’s a problem, but we need a bit more information before we can be sure.”
- Neurosurgeon: “You have two potentially serious problems. But don’t go getting yourself all worried about them, because (1) due to the pregnancy, we’re not going to know anything more about them for at least a year and (2) there’s really no rush anyway, because both problems are years away from becoming truly problematic.
- Obstetrician: “Baby looks good! Let’s just keep tabs on everything else.”
As I indicated above, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about trials in life and how we react to them. Personally, I tend to be a positive, glass-is-half-full, optimistic kind of person. So when these thoughts started running through my head two weeks ago, all I could think of was how comically, joyfully absurd my old stories of misfortune seemed to me now. I wrote a light-hearted piece on the subject… and then I didn’t post it.
I’d already felt a little silly to be extolling the “don’t let things get to you!” mindset when my own personal trials didn’t seem all that serious to me. I thought of people who’d been through much more serious ordeals and who (understandably) couldn’t move on. But then I happened to hear a few stories of people who lived through the most sobering and serious of trials, and still preferred to find the positive in their experiences. I was awed, and humbled, and taken down a few notches from my “delight in absurdity!” perch.
And then a few days ago the neurosurgeon told me that I might have a couple of my own serious trials ahead. He expects that the spine situation (herniated disc; vertebrae situated how they shouldn’t be) will get worse. Ultimately, he expects that I’ll need spinal surgery. (Remember that the problematic part of the spine is in my neck. For some reason, the prospect of spinal surgery in my neck is so much scarier to me than if it were my back.) Less certain, but perhaps more scary, is the (remote) chance that the brain cyst could impact my ocular nerve and cause me to go blind. There is only a small chance that this will happen, so I’m not panicking. I am, however, saddened at the thought that sometime in the future, I might lose my ability to see my family… and sunsets… and autumn leaves… and the written word.
But even with this news, I felt a redoubling of my conviction that positivity in the face of trial is the way to go. There is so much we can’t control in our lives: we can’t prevent all illness, we can’t protect from all harm, we can’t stop all misfortune. But we can control our reactions. Maybe not our first reactions, but certainly our processing of the situations and the ways in which we allow them to affect our lives.
When I think about positivity in the face of adversity, I feel like I’m touching on a powerful truth, a good. I feel hopeful and at peace. How could I choose any other path?
The above thought process brought me to the realization that all of that positivity-in-the-face-of-adversity stuff is part of the same story. Finding the joyful absurdity in small trials, the admirable strength in serious ones, the quiet hopefulness in those you see coming – they are all good, and they are all connected. I think I might go ahead and post that lighthearted piece after all. And then follow it with another, more serious one. Neither part of the story is less valid than the other.
Was that heavy enough for your Friday afternoon? How about we finish off these “Quick” Takes with some sweet pictures of toddler Halloween celebrations?
At our house, we had a “Big Gween Dwagon With Fire” and a “Bwave Knight.
I don’t at all consider this to be a crafty blog, but I do enjoy being crafty when the occasion presents itself. I didn’t take a single in-process photo, but here’s how I made the boys’ costumes, in case you’re curious:
- I purchased a gray sweat suit, a loosely-knit gray/silver scarf scattered with a few sequins, a patterned gray/silver scarf, a loosely-knit gray/silver cap, and a child’s set of shield/swords (all from Walmart).
- The sweat suit went on first, with no alterations.
- The loosely-knit scarf was cut to the appropriate length (about three feet for my two-year-old), folded in half, and a head-sized slit was cut into the middle of the folded edge. It went on (just slipped over my boy’s head) after the sweat suit.
- The other scarf was tied around his waist.
- The tassles and pom were cut off the hat and it was set on his cute little head.
- I handed him his shield and a sword, and we were done!
- I purchased a green sweatshirt, two pairs of green sweatpants, a loosely-knit green cap with a rim on the front, a tightly-knit green cap, and two loosely-knit (one orange, one gold) scarves (all from Walmart). I also purchased some patterned brown felt, some (red, yellow, and white) foam sheets, some batting, and some googly eyes (from Michaels).
- I cut the brown felt to size and glued it to the front of the sweatshirt (which conveniently covered a design on the front of the shirt). I also cut two small circles (for nostrils) and two triangles (for ears) from the felt.
- I left one pair of the sweatpants alone. With the other, I made the tail: I cut away one of the legs, leaving the waistband intact and some extra fabric at the top. I folded the extra fabric over and sewed it in place to cover the hole left at the top of the remaining leg. I then stuffed the leg with batting and sewed the bottom of the leg shut.
- I stuffed the tightly-knit green cap with batting and sewed it shut. I then place it on top of the rim to the loosely-knit green cap and sewed it on.
- I cut teeth and fire (in three layers) from the foam sheets. The fire was hot-glued to the rim of the loosely-knit cap (just under where the tightly-knit cap was sewn on). The teeth were glued to the underside of the tightly-knit cap. The nostrils were glued onto its top side. The ears were glued onto the top of the loosely-knit cap. The googly eyes were glued onto its front.
- I cut each of the (orange and gold) loosely-knit scarves into three pieces. The longest was sewn down the back of the tail. The next was sewn down the back of the shirt. The shortest was sewn down the back of the hat.
- The sweat suit went on my boy first, then the tail, then the hat.
Have a great weekend, everyone! I hope you had a fun Halloween and you’re having a happy All Saints Day today! Be sure to jump on over to Jen’s to check out the rest of the Quick Takes.